Everybody has heard of identity theft by now.
Identity theft occurs when some scammer gets a hold of your Social Security number and/or your banking information and then runs amuck with it gleefully creating massive amounts of debt in your name and ruining your credit among other things.
However, what is an imposter scam? Should you be concerned?
Definitely. For the very first time, imposter scams have outdone identity theft with regard to the sheer amount of complaints reported by consumers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What Is An Imposter Scam?
An imposter scam occurs when a scammer approaches you by phone, email or even in person pretending to be a person of trust such as a computer technician or a government official ie. the IRS and persuades you into giving them money.
Phony IRS Agent
One of the most popular imposter scams involves the IRS and runs something like this. A stranger calls, sounding quite official, claiming to be an IRS agent and says,
“I’m calling to officially inform you that we have conducted an audit and you owe money to the government. You need to wire the money owing immediately in order for you to avoid legal proceedings that can lead to imprisonment or deportation. Sir (or ma’am) this is extremely serious.”
SCAM! The government NEVER requires you to wire money. Tell the scammer to bug off and hang up the phone.
Check out this video:
Bogus Computer Technician
Another popular imposter scam is the bogus computer technician. Similar to the IRS imposter scam, the scammer calls you claiming that their company has been monitoring your computer i.p. address and are notifying you that they have detected a new virus circulating the internet on your computer. They then go on to say that you need to buy their software or security patch “right away” or you’ll lose everything stored on your computer or, even worse, your computer will be damaged beyond repair. “We just want to help you bypass any problems.” Yeah, right.
Check out this video:
Here’s A Few Stats
According to the FTC, whose job is to keep consumers safe, it received over 3 million complaints from consumers last year according to its 2016 Data Book
Here are a few interesting facts they gathered:
- The most popular complaint regarded debt collectors. As a matter of fact, over a quarter of the total complaints received were about debt collectors.
- Never before has imposter scams outdone identity theft as the second most popular category. Identity theft complaints dropped almost 20%, perhaps because authorities have made an effort to warn the public to guard their personal information.
- Imposter scams were the most popular complaint by military personnel.
- Over 75% of fraud victims indicated that they were contacted not through email but rather by phone. This is significantly higher than just a few years ago.
- Georgia, Florida and Michigan were worst among the states for not only fraud but many diverse complaints, while Delaware and Michigan were the worst for complaints regarding identity theft.
How To Protect Yourself
Luckily, the FTC has a few tips to keep us safe.
- Be wary of callers requesting a wire transfer. Remember, the government will never ask you to wire money. As a matter of fact, telemarketers are not supposed to ask you to pay for anything by wire. It’s illegal. Try to picture wiring money as the same as mailing cash. Once you’ve sent it, it’s gone. You can never get it back.
- If you receive a suspicious phone call from the government, investigate it. Call up the government agency using its official phone number that you know is legit not the number given to you by the dubious caller.
- Imposters (scammers) want you to take action immediately. That is a sure sign of fraud. What’s the hurry? It’s because they are trying to dupe you into sending them money prior to you realizing who they really are. Don’t give in to pressure.
The Bottom Line
Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, hang up and check out their story. There’s no rush.
So, I hope I’ve answered the question, “What Is An Imposter Scam?” Have you ever been a victim of this type of scam? I’d lover to hear what happened. Please leave your comments below.
Before you go, I need to ask you a few very important questions …
Are you searching for a GENUINE Online Business Opportunity?
Are you tired of struggling online and want to once and for all succeed by receiving first rate, step-by-step training along with everything you could possibly need to succeed wrapped up in a complete package? …And, did I mention that it’s FREE? Yes, FREE!
Here’s to your success!